Monday, March 29, 2010

Even more bad bus shelter ads!

Another day, another terrible bus shelter poster. And once again, it's the copy that's to blame.

Now we all know Hawaii is heavenly and no one wants to leave. But insinuating to potential customers that where they live sucks? That's just not nice.

I totally get what the line was trying to say, but the writer just did a lazy job of saying it well.

Here are some possible alternatives:

Non-stop to Hawai'i. And back home, if you choose.

Non-stop to Hawai'i.
(And back home, too)

Non-stop to Hawai'i.
And back, but only because we have to.

Keep reading...

Siggi's Skyr is So Good

At the San Francisco Fancy Food Show in January, I had the opportunity to meet Siggi and try his eponymous Icelandic yogurt. It was good. Siggi gave me three coupons for free cups of his yogurt, which I have finally used. Siggi's is mainly sold at upscale grocery stores (like Whole Foods), and each cup costs about three bucks. Expensive, but it's the best store-bought yogurt I've ever had.

It's thick like Greek yogurt but not as tart, and comes in a bunch of creative flavors (like Orange and Ginger or Pomegranate and Passion Fruit). Plus it has a ton of protein and no fat, which is CRAZY! I love this stuff and implore everyone to try it.
Keep reading...

Goosebumps is Hideous (and it's not intentional)

If you were a kid in the mid '90s, you grew up on Goosebumps. R.L. Stine churned them out at a clip of about one per month from 1992-97, and everyone I knew had a shelfful.

And while some book fads from the '90s have faded away (au revoir, Animorphs!), Goosebumps can still be found at Borders, albeit with a different cover design. And therein lies the problem.

Book cover design is an art form, and generally speaking, it's getting better and better. And while it may be that publishers often pay less attention to individual covers for a kids' series (knowing that once kids get hooked, they can pretty much phone the rest of the series in), Goosebumps covers of the 90s were always cool. A simple two-color design with nubby, embossed lettering and a creepy illustration (done by Tim Jacobus). They were simple, but they had a consistent quality to them.

The covers of today are not only cheaper (no embossed lettering), the design is also far worse. Incredibly, it's the same artwork, but the rest of the layout is a hodgepodge of horrible design choices. They've tried to make the slime look more realistic with a Photoshop emboss/drop shadow combination, but it ends up looking extremely amateur and fake. And the type treatment has gotten worse across the board--the thicker type of the author's name is too bold, skewing and drop shadowing "Goosebumps" looks awful, and the tagline now gets lost and looks ugly.

How is it possible that this could happen to such a hugely successful series? I am truly aghast. Somebody, do something. Please. Keep reading...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Neato New Ad Units

Yahoo's been doing some cool stuff with their flagship homepage ad space lately. Both of these examples ran this week, and presumably each brand bought out the space for the whole day. Judging by the products it would appear the audience of this page skews heavily female.

The Crystal Light banner had some neat watery animation, and then expanded to become wallpaper behind the page's main content. At first it seemed a little gaudy and MySpace-like, but it grew on me.

The Lean Cuisine banner also had cool animation, with the vegetables dropping into the basket, followed by the product itself.

It's exciting to see the development of new ad formats. I attended a panel tonight, in fact, about the data-driven future of display. A lot of the stuff went way over my head, but from what I gathered, display is set to become the next big thing. Keep reading...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Alternate Universe Advertising

Saw this ad on MUNI recently, and the casting caught my eye. You'd usually expect to see the Asian woman as the masseuse, and the attractive white couple enjoying their spa day. Here, the female roles are reversed. A sign of San Franciscan relationship trends or just trying to be PC? Keep reading...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More bad bus shelter advertising

I almost feel like starting a new blog all about crappy bus shelter ads because I've posted so many of them. Here's another. I took a close shot so you can better see the coffee in each cup--because they're identical. I compared the bubbles, and it's clear that they just copied that elliptical sliver and photoshopped it into each container. Which is odd, considering the ad claims Taster's Choice is so much better than Starbucks'.

Oh, and I also wonder if they made the Starbucks coffee sleeve look like a cigarette on purpose... Keep reading...

Bloomingdales Merchandises Marvelously

Merchandising is an oft-overlooked outlet of creativity. Most mall stores are content to dress up some mannequins in the current season's styles, but others create innovative, eye-catching displays that make you realize merchandising can be an art form.
As a rock climber, I was particularly impressed by Bloomingdales' presentation of men's athletic wear. I liked having mannequins in action poses, and the crumpled craft paper on the wall was a nice abstraction of a rock face. Additionally--and it's hard to see in the photo--they've hung some of the clothes on branches suspended by bungee cords. Very cool. Keep reading...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Out of Home Advertising FTW

During my recent visit back home in Atlanta, I stopped by Lenox Mall briefly to see what was up at Club Monaco, the only store I shop at these days. I found a nice cardigan there, but what really made my day was seeing some great out-of-home advertising for South Carolina tourism. Their "South Carolina Next Door" campaign has been running for a while on radio and billboards in Georgia, and I'd always thought it was a pretty good idea. These executions however, take a good strategic thought and make it memorable.

At first glance I actually thought it was a real person in the boat, and the people flying the kite also looked creepily realistic. There was also a big beach ball hanging from the ceiling. Altogether, these pieces leave quite an impression, and surely will get some people talking about South Carolina. Kudos to The Bounce Agency, Greenville, SC. Keep reading...

New SF Public Library Site

When I first used the SF Public Library's website in December, I was shocked at the hideous design and ill thought-out user experience. In a city chock-a-block with web designers and programmers, you'd think their government sites would be a cut above. So I was overjoyed last week when the library debuted its new site, below.

It's designed for higher resolution screens, has much better use of color, and the log-in process is no longer buried at the bottom. It's good to know public institutions aren't content with crappy sites. Keep reading...

Condom Coupon Comedy

As most people can attest to, buying condoms is pretty awkward as it is. Rite Aid wants to make it EVEN MORE AWKWARD by forcing you to cut out a COUPON to get a discount. Not sure if someone is really stupid or really smart (since Rite Aid gets to "have a sale" but count on few people actually getting the sale price). Keep reading...